US: Wal-Mart caution overshadows "solid" results
- Forecast for Q1 EPS lower than Wall St forecasts
- Profits, sales up in last financial year
Wal-Mart forecast below Wall St estimates
Wal-Mart Stores today (21 February) set a forecast for first-quarter earnings below analyst estimates amid caution over the economy and consumer confidence.
The world's largest retailer said it expects first-quarter earnings per share of US$1.11 to $1.16. It compared to a forecast of $1.19 according to a Bloomberg poll of 18 analysts.
"These estimates consider current economic factors that are affecting customers in many of our markets," Wal-Mart CFO Charles Holley said.
The outlook came as Wal-Mart reported higher profits and sales for the last three months of its last financial year and for the 12 months as a whole.
Annual net income was up 8.3% on a 5% rise in total revenue. Sales and operating income increased in the US and from Wal-Mart's international operations. Comparable-store sales in the US, excluding fuel, increased 0.2%.
CEO Mike Duke called the 12 months a "really good year" for Wal-Mart. Looking ahead, Holley added: "We know there are challenges ahead, but we believe our strong financial position, along with our EDLC and EDLP operating model."
Shares in Wal-Mart were up 2.15% at $70.70 at 10:15 ET. Wal-Mart lifted its dividend for 2014, which helped boost the shares.
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Check back later for more detailed coverage of the company's results.
Wal-Mart Stores said that US customers are responding positively to its focus on fresh food, particularly produce, as it looks to reverse weak domestic traffic trends and declining comparable store sa...
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